Tag Archives: Visit Orlando

ORLANDO becomes first destination to surpass 60 million visitors

More than 62 million people visited Orlando in 2014. It marks a new all-time record for the U.S. travel industry, solidifying Orlando’s position as the most visited destination in the US. Visitation grew five percent from 2013 as visitors from around the world came to experiencOrlando Eyee all that is new across the ever-expanding destination. A record 32 million room nights were sold in Orlando in 2014, resulting in bed tax collections topping $200 million for the first time in Orange County, Fla., home to the Central Florida tourism district.

“This historic milestone is the latest testament to Orlando’s leadership in tourism,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “It’s a tribute to the steadfast commitment and continued investment by our tourism community, the special brand of service that greets our visitors and the global marketing and sales efforts of our Visit Orlando team and member companies.”

“The impact of tourism is remarkable, and in fact, the travel and tourism industry is the largest generator of jobs and economic impact for the region,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “In addition to delighting visitors and families from aroBob's Balloon Flights, in Orlandound the world, travel and hospitality industry helps to support a great quality of life for Orlando’s residents, including amazing new performing arts center and outstanding sports venues.”  To meet the needs of a growing number of visitors, Orange County has made investments in infrastructure, including investing in an important expansion and renovation of the nationally recognized Orange County Convention Center.

“Passing the 60 million annual visitors mark is a significant achievement for Orlando and the U.S. travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy each year,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Thanks to the close partnership among members of Orlando’s tourism community and strong leadership by public officials and Visit Orlando, this popular destination known around the world is well positioned to continue setting records in tourism.”

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, FloridaIn 2014, Walt Disney World Resort completed New Fantasyland, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort opened. Visitors to Orlando in 2015 will experience the first full year of these exciting expansions that opened in 2014 and be the first to see several new attractions, including I-Drive 360, featuring a trio of new attractions from Merlin Entertainments, as well as a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs.

SeaWorlds CelebrationIn recent years, the Orlando experience has also become more diverse, attracting an increasingly wide range of visitors. Foodies find a surprisingly sophisticated culinary destination, recognized with more “Best of the South” chef nominations by the prestigious James Beard Foundation than any city in Florida for three straight years. Luxury travelers are drawn to the five-star service at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando that opened six months ago, as well as the Ritz-Carlton Orlando and Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Visitors are also discovering exciting new venues in which to enjoy the arts and professional sports, like the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts and the Major League Soccer stadium coming to Downtown Orlando in 2016.


Festive Orlando Holiday Celebrations Light Up the Season

Bob's Balloon Flights, in OrlandoOrlando celebrates the most magical time of year with warm weather, new special events and spirited live entertainment in the theme parks and beyond, creating an unforgettable and festive setting for a winter getaway. Along with the nearly 150 holiday-themed events at the theme parks and throughout the destination, visitors can find the perfect gift at Orlando’s well known outlet centers, malls and specialty boutiques. Visit Orlando will be sharing tips to help visitors make the most of their holiday vacation. Visit Orlando is also an official seller of Orlando attraction tickets, including a wide variety of Orlando’s Christmas celebrations.


Holidays at the Theme Parks

Cinderella Castle - HolidayWalt Disney World Resort                                                             Select nights Nov. 7 – Jan. 4

  • New this year at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Queen Elsa from “Frozen” will use her incredible powers to transform Cinderella Castle into a glistening ice palace for the holidays – thanks to a special effects spectacle bathing the castle in 200,000 shimmering white lights. During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party¸ “Frozen” characters join the festive procession, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade”.
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, new for the holidays, guests can sing along to “Frozen” songs during “For the First Time in Forever – a ‘Frozen’ Sing-Along Celebration’ and enjoy the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, a massive seasonal display featuring millions of dancing lights synchronized to holiday tunes amidst snowfall.
  • At Epcot, the Candlelight Processional is one of the most beloved holiday traditions at Walt Disney World Resort, with the joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and glorious mass choir.

GrinchmasUniversal Orlando Resort                                                              Select nights Dec. 6 – Jan. 3

  • At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy’s Holiday Parade will fill the streets every evening with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in Macy’s famous Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Chloe The Clown “Balloonicle” is a new addition that combines a towering balloon with a self-powered vehicle that roams the streets of Universal Studios.
  • At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, families will light up with holiday cheer as Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Landing. Guests can enjoy a live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale, “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” featuring the Whos from Who-ville, accompanied by an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller.

SeaWorlds Christmas CelebrationSeaWorld Orlando                                                                              Select nights Nov. 22 – Dec. 31

  • Waves of holiday spirit splash over the park during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration.Here in a wintery, watery wonderland, guests of all ages will enjoy stunning live shows inspired by the natural world, journey to the North Pole on THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience, then share a smile with a playful penguin while visiting the park’s newest attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.
  • During the new Christmas Family Fun Tour, guests enjoy favorite attractions for children at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Highlights include: a penguin meet and greet, reserved seating at Elmo’s Christmas Wish and a meal at Santa’s Fireside Feast.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort                                                             Weekends in December

  • For the first time at LEGOLAND Florida, families will have a photo opportunity with a life-sized LEGO Model Santa Claus during Christmas Bricktacular.
  • The more than 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree made with a combination of 270,000 green LEGO and DUPLO bricks provides the perfect place for holiday family photos.


Celebrations Outside the Theme Parks

Orlando’s theme parks aren’t the only hot spots in Central Florida for holiday activities and traditions. From ice slides to building gingerbread houses, the possibilities are endless at some of Orlando’s other attractions.

  •  Leu’s Holiday House is decked out for the holidays by some of Orlando’s best interior designers from Nov. 17 – Jan. 5. Guests can stroll along the garden’s meandering paths shaded by ancient oaks, forests of camellias and giant camphor trees.
  •  The Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art showcases “All That Glitters,” from Nov. 15-23, featuring dozens of adorned trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses on display, as well as for purchase.
  •  ICE! At Gaylord Palms, an award-winning attraction carved by a team of 40 skilled artisans, features more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures from Nov. 14 – Jan. 4, including Frosty the Snowman, four ice slides and a live ice-carving station.

Orlando-ShoppingThe Season of Shopping

Orlando may be known for its thrilling theme parks, but the city’s abundance of malls, outlets and boutiques offer a wonderland of holiday finds. Visitors in town for Black Friday (Nov. 28) will enjoy some of the best prices of the year on their holiday purchases.

  •  The Mall at Millenia offers over 150 high end stores with everything from the latest Apple gadgets to high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus, St. Laurent Paris, Prada, Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.
  •  The Florida Mall is the area’s largest shopping experience with over 250 stores including Coach, MAC Cosmetics and playful shops such as Build-A-Bear, the M&M Store and Polaroid FOTOBAR.
  •  Orlando Premium Outlets offers two world class outlet centers located in Orlando. Both include over 150 stores offering everyday savings of 25 to 65 percent.